The Chief Illiniwek Dialogue
Intent and Tradition vs. Reaction and History
A REPORT TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Louis B. Garippo
Cahil Christian & Kunkle, Ltd.
224 S. Michigan Avenue, #1300
Chicago, Illinois 60604
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II "SYMBOL" vs. "MASCOT"
III THE ILLINI TRIBE
IV HISTORY OF CHIEF ILLINIWEK
V HISTORY OF THE CONTROVERSY
VI THE NORTH CENTRAL ASSOCIATION REPORT
VII HOW OTHER SCHOOLS HAVE DEALT WITH ISSUE OF INDIAN DESIGNATIONS
VIII ARGUMENTS ADVANCED
IX THE DIALOGUE MAILBOX
X DISCUSSION OF COMPROMISE
XI INDEX TO TRUSTEES' APPENDIX
On January 13, 2000, the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois passed a
resolution concerning the issue of the continuation of the Chief Illiniwek
performances at its athletic events. The resolution acknowledged the existence of a
controversy, and the resolution (found in the Trustees' Appendix @ No.l) provides in
4. The Board resolves to ensure that processes are in place which are designed to
address the differences within the University community regarding the use of the
Chief as a symbol and its alleged negative impact.
On February 15, 2000, the Board, pursuant to the earlier resolution, issued the
following press release:
CHAMPAIGN, 111.— A plan for renewed dialogue on Chief Illiniwek was
announced today by William D. Engelbrecht, Chairman of the
University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees reaffirmed its commitment to dialogue on January
13, and today s announcement is a tangible expression of that
commitment, he said.
Engelbrecht said that the University would retain a senior legal
professional to help gather opinion on Chief Illiniwek, symbol of the
Urbana campus s athletic teams, and present it to the Board in a form
that would allow the Board to respond to particular points in an
The first step, he said, will be opinion solicitation. Students, faculty,
staff, alumni, and the general public will be invited to submit their
opinions in writing.
Submissions may be sent to Dialogue on Chief Illiniwek, P.O. Box 5052,
Champaign, Illinois 61825 or to The deadline for submissions will be
The Board will hold a Special Intake Session on the Urbana campus
April 14. Interested people of all shades of opinion will be welcome to
present their views.
The University will retain a senior legal professional to compile all the
communications received, including a transcript of the Special Intake
Session as well as the letters and e-mails.
The senior legal professional will prepare a three-part report consisting
of 1) an executive summary of the various arguments made about this
issue from all points of view, 2) a distillation of these arguments into
particular points to which the Board will reply, and 3) an appendix
consisting of the transcript of the Special Intake Session and all
communications received. All members of the Board of Trustees will
receive this report on August 1, and it will be available to the press and
Engelbrecht said that the Board will hold a Special Response Session on
the Urbana campus in the fall at which it will respond to the various
issues as presented by the senior legal professional. The Board may also
choose to issue general statements or adopt resolutions at that or a later
"This plan should allow all opinions to be heard and allow the Board to
respond to all of the issues raised during the process. I urge everyone
interested in this issue to offer his or her opinion. We'll be listening," he
Engelbrecht said that further details about the Special Intake Session
would be announced soon. E-mail:
On March 30, 2000, the Board named the undersigned to be the senior legal
professional to preside over the Intake Session and compile the report to the Board of
Trustees. The press release issued that day, which in addition sets out the procedures
for the Dialogue, can be found at Trustees' Appendix @ No. 2. The role of the senior
legal professional was meant to be and remains limited:
Garippo may advise the Board on procedural questions but will not make
a recommendation on the status of Chief Illiniwek. His task will be to
convey respondents' opinions to the board.
[March 30, 2000 - Press Release by Board] This report is being submitted to the
Board pursuant to the above directions.
As discussed in Section IV of this report, this controversy has been debated at great
length and with great passion for eleven years. On numerous occasions participants
and close observers of the discussions have heard various forms of the many
arguments during that time period. To those persons this report will present no
significantly new arguments.
One might question, then, whether the Dialogue and this report are beneficial. Clearly,
they are. First, they give all persons affected or interested in the issue an opportunity
to express their views and have those opinions reviewed. Secondly, at the Intake
Session the Board had the opportunity to see and hear over 120 persons voice their
opinions with great passion either in person or on video. Thirdly, and most
importantly, the report presents both sides of the Dialogue from their historical
perspectives. This is not only helpful to those readers who know little or even nothing
about the controversy, but just as importantly, perhaps even the contributors to the
Dialogue might better appreciate the position from which opposing opinions arise.
This issue frequently polarizes those who express opinions. As the moderator of this
Dialogue, the most difficult goal was to carry out the designated duties in such a
manner that attendees at the Dialogue and readers of this report would feel that all
views had been considered and fairly reported, and at the same time, no bias would be
ascribed to the actions or statements of the moderator. Every effort was made to
achieve that goal; hopefully those efforts were successful.
II. " SYMBOL" vs. "MASCOT
Although the various arguments on each side are discussed separately in Section VIII
of this report, there is one issue that the speakers and writers have spent a great deal of
time discussing and analyzing and should be addressed at this time.
While the Chief is not a true mascot in that he does not participate in the usual
cheerleading activities of mascots of other schools, neither is he a true symbol of the
University tradition. If he truly represented that tradition, his appearance would not be
limited to athletic events. Chief Illiniwek is not an individual. Rather, "he" is a
performance consisting of music, dance and costume performed at athletic events for
the past 74 years. What began as a clever diversion for halftime at a football game has
evolved into a tradition of its own.
As halftime entertainment to crowds of up to 70,000 people, he is perceived
subjectively in many different ways. By attaching a label which identifies the
performance as symbol or mascot based on subjective individual reaction or
perception begs the question and adds nothing to the debate as to whether the
performance should be retained. This report will avoid either designation.
III. THE ILLINI TRIBE
The Illini were a loose association or confederation of several tribes all speaking the
Algonquin language. Those tribes included, among others, the Kaskaskia, Cahokia,
Peoria, Tamaroa, and Metchigamea. At the time of European contact, this group lived
and hunted in an area approximately from the Illinois-Wisconsin border on the north,
east to the Wabash River basin, westward across the Mississippi into eastern Iowa,
with the Ohio River to the south.
The Illini did not live in tipis; their dwellings were long houses consisting of bark or
mats stretched over wooden frames. They combined hunting, fishing, gathering and
farming on a yearly cycle with corn as their most important crop. After their first
contact with Europeans in the 1670s, their ranks were depleted primarily by intertribal
warfare (including battles with the Dakota Sioux) and disease. The primary enemy
was the Iroquois, who attacked them first in 1682 as the Iroquois sought new areas for
hunting and trapping. Attacks from the Iroquois and conflicts with other tribes caused
the Illini to move down the Illinois River Valley. By the middle of the eighteenth
century, their population was a fraction of what it had been a century before. The Illini
alliances with the French and, after the American Revolution, with the Americans
contributed to their demise. Their French allies ceded their territories to the British in
1763, and in the first decades of the nineteenth century the Americans failed to
support them when attacked by groups supported by the British.
By the 1830s when the U. S. Government adopted the policy of removal, which
forcibly relocated most Native Americans from states east of the Mississippi River,
there were few Illini survivors left in Illinois. By treaty, most of the land occupied by
the Illini was ceded to the government, and the last of the Kaskaskia and Peorias
crossed the Mississippi and headed briefly to Missouri and then to Kansas where they
remained until the white settlers wanted their land. They then were relocated to
Oklahoma where they yet remain, united as a single tribe, the Peoria. A few Tamaroas
and Metchigameas remained in Illinois, where some of their descendants remain to
According to the 1990 U. S. census, in the State of Illinois, 20,970 people identified
themselves as American Indian, with no designation as to tribal ancestry. That figure
represents 0.2% of the total population of 10,830,612 in the state. Coincidentally, that
percentage is identical to the Indian enrollment at UIUC which the University reports.
American Indians have questioned whether actually there are 76 of their ethnic group
enrolled out of the 36,738 total student population as reported by the University.
IV. HISTORY OF CHIEF ILLINIWEK
The story of the origin of the Chief is common knowledge to those familiar with the
debate surrounding the Chiefs existence. To those new to the discussion, however, it
is informative to analyze the origins of the entire performance.
In 1926, Ray Dvorak, assistant director of bands, conceived the idea of having a
Native American war dance performed at halftime at the Illinois-Pennsylvania game.
Lester Leutwiler, a student with a keen interest in native lore, was picked to dance.
Relying on knowledge gained as an Eagle Scout, he prepared a homemade costume
complete with a war bonnet made of turkey feathers. The halftime performance was a
big hit. For the rest of the 1926 season and again for the 1927 season, Leutwiler
continued his Chief performances
From the home page of the UIUC web site, we are informed as to how the Chief was
The expression "Illiniwek" was first used in conjunction with the
University of Illinois by football coach Bob Zuppke in the mid 1920's.
Zup was a philosopher and historian by training and inclination, and he
was intrigued by the concept the Illini peoples held about their identity
and aspirations. They spoke a dialect of the Algonquin language and
used the term "Illiniwek" to refer to the complete human being - the
strong, agile human body; the unfettered human intellect; the
indomitable human spirit.
It is not surprising that an Indian was selected as representative of the University.
Much of the European- American culture adopted the American Indian as symbolic of
a new found tradition. Hence, the prevalence of Indian names for states, rivers and
other geographic landmarks. Additionally, there was a fascination with Americans
carrying on Indian customs as reflected by the formation of the Boy Scouts, Eagle
Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other groups which placed heavy emphasis on the cultivation
of Indian crafts and practices.
Prior to the creation of Chief Illiniwek in 1926, the University of Illinois exhibited a
considerable interest in an American Indian identity. An examination of
the Illio beginning in 1901 reveals countless pictorials of the American Indian. These
depictions ranged from Indian faces similar to the present school logo, sketches of
muscular, nude or minimally clothed Indian men in headdresses, medicine men,
natives dancing with tomahawks, etc. An Indian was a likely selection for the
B. The Costume
From the Chief Illiniwek Homepage, the following appears:
The Chiefs dance might have faded into oblivion except for history
major A. Webber Borchers, who picked up the torch.
"I realized the idea of an Indian chief could be turned into a tremendous
historical and symbolic advantage for the U. of I. ," Borchers wrote in
1984. "I realized that it would be necessary to have certain objects to
continue this tradition. If you have a kingdom, there must be, so to
speak, a crown, scepter and the regalia to pass down from king to king,
chief to chief. "
So Borchers, who died in 1989, asked for and received permission from
Dvorak to use a temporary costume for the 1929 season. Then he would
see about getting permanent, authentic garb for the Chief.
Unfortunately, about the time Borchers wanted to raise money for the
project, the Depression gripped the nation and money disappeared.
Borchers collected $35 or $40 in contributions, mostly in nickels and
dimes, but that didn't come close to covering the cost of suitable attire.
Local businessman Isaac Kuhn offered $500 if Borchers would
personally see to it that a proper war suit was made. Soon Borchers with
letters of explanation from Kuhn, Dvorak, and University representative
Albert Harding in his pocket, was hitchhiking to the Pine Ridge
Reservation in Kadota, South Dakota.
He wanted the colorful regalia of the Sioux for several reasons, not the
least of which was that the Indians of Illinois shaved the sides of their
heads and he couldn't quite picture himself or any future Chief Illiniwek
walking around campus for two or three years with only a scalplock on
his head. Also, the Illinois Indians were woodland Indians and did not
wear the dramatic war bonnets of the plains Indians.
"I also took other letters of introduction to the Superintendent of Indian
Affairs, which at that time was Mr. W. W. Jermark, and explained to him
my project," Borchers wrote. "He called in a trader that lived on the
reservation and they discussed the matter. They, in turn, called in an old
Indian woman and explained to her what I wanted. I wanted the war suit
to be made in the old original way. She agreed to undertake the project. "
On November 8, 1930, the outfit that Borchers ordered first appeared at the Illinois-
Army game in New York. That costume has been changed four or five times. In
September of 1982, the present regalia was presented to the University. The current
rawhide outfit had been sewn by the wife of Frank Fools Crow, the elderly chief of
the Ogala Sioux tribe of South Dakota. At halftime of a football game, after having
been flown in from South Dakota on the private plane of a local businessman, Fool's
Crow made the presentation. There are conflicting reports within the University's
website as to whether the outfit was donated by Fools Crow or purchased by the
University. The original eagle feathers in the headdress have been returned to the
Ogala tribe and replaced with turkey feathers dyed to appear as eagle feathers.
The music set played during the Chiefs performance consists of portions of three
separate works. Combined, the works are referred to as the 3 in 1.
The performance begins at mid-field with the band members in a block "I" formation
while marching toward the north goal line playing what is called the trio portion
of Pride of the lllini, composed in 1928 by Karl L. King, a popular composer of
traditional marching music. The beat of that music is a traditional marching beat.
As the formation reaches the north end zone, the Chief slips into the center of the
band members and while he emerges toward midfield he performs his dance as the
band now in an ILLINI formation plays the trio of the March of the lllini. Composer
Harry Alford was commissioned by original band director A. A. Harding to write this
march. The trio portion of the march has a continuous ostinato rhythm, which crowds
identify with an Indian tom-tom beat. Interestingly, this march was composed in 1922,
four years before Chief Illiniwek was created. This march reflects the Indian tradition
existing on the campus prior to the Chiefs arrival.
At the conclusion of the dance, the Chief stands erect with arms folded high on his
chest while the band plays Hail to the Orange, the university alma mater written in
1908 by Howard R. Green. The Illini fans stand during this portion and sing with the
At the conclusion of Hail to the Orange, the band and the Chief leave the field to the
beat of the March of the Illini. The entire performance is about four minutes.
D. The Dance
John Madigan, the present Chief Illiniwek, submitted the following description of the
origin and nature of the dance. The submission contains Mr. Madigan's opinions as
well. Most of his opinions are redacted in this section but his entire submission can be
found at Trustees' Appendix @ No. 3.
The halftime performance of the University of Illinois' Chief Illiniwek
takes its movements from the Native American style of dancing called
"fancy dancing" or "fancy feather dancing," which is considered the
brightest and fastest of Native American dance styles.
Fancy dancing did not originate from any old dance or style. Fancy
dancing originated as a method of entertaining visitors at reservations in
the early 1920's and to display aspects of Native culture that were not
restricted for ceremonial use. The outfit combined the popular bustles of
traditional dancers and made them larger, brighter, and more exciting
and added feathers, fluffs, and colors wherever they would fit. Today,
fancy dancers' regalia contains very intricate feather patterns and colors,
including neon colors and other eye-catching patterns. Fancy dancing
belongs to no one tribe - it started in Oklahoma and is now all over the
country, with some differences in dress and style in the North.
Fancy Dancers dance much faster than all other styles, and it is
sometimes freestyle, with dancers doing such wild things as the splits
and back flips. Many fancy dancers feel that these movements are
necessary to win the top prizes and cash awards at fancy dancing
competitions. These movements may be less common due to the level of
skill required to perform them.
The dance style is of two types: a basic simple step while dancing
around the drum and a "contest" step with fast and intricate footwork
combined with a spinning up and down movement of the body.
many powwows or grounds where fancy dancing competitions are
held are athletic fields or similar venues. Fancy dancing troupes travel in
the Southwest to perform shows for tourists and visitors.
The Chief dances a fancy dance
The performance of Chief Illiniwek is very similar to fancy dancing seen
at powwows today. The basic step in the dance is the double step, which
has been part of the performance since its inception. The later part of the
dance involves intricate footwork and fast spinning movements. The
split jumps and high kicks display the dancer's skill and ability. Just as
fancy dancing has changed and evolved since the 1920's, so has the
performance of Chief Illiniwek. There is no fault in either one, since this
form of dancing was designed as an artistic expression. Artistic
expression will vary from individual to individual, and different people
will perform different steps or movements completely different. Certain
movements in the performance of Chief Illiniwek have stayed the same
for the sake of consistency from individual to individual. Because the
role of Chief Illiniwek is considered to be bigger than the individual
performing, there was a need to be somewhat consistent from year to
year and from Chief to Chief. The performance of Chief Illiniwek can
neither be classified as "non-authentic" or "authentic," because it has
changed and evolved just as fancy dancing has over the past century.
Would those who argue that Chief Illiniwek's performance and dress are
not authentic also argue that today's fancy dancers who use neon colored
feathers and beadwork are not authentic as well?
Native American influence on the Chief's dance
The first three individuals who portrayed Chief Illiniwek (Lester
Leutwiler, Webber Borchers, and William Newton) studied Native
American dancing (especially fancy dancing) for years before they held
the role of Chief Illiniwek. They became interested in Native American
culture through their involvement with Eagle Scouts and they all spent
time at Ralph Hubbard's summer camp designed to teach and appreciate
fancy dancing. Leutwiler used the steps and skills that he learned
through studying Native American dancing to help create the
performance of Chief Illiniwek. Leutwiler stated, "This performance
took place at a time when Native Americans in the West were installed
on reservations and struggling for survival. Many in the area of
Champaign-Urbana had only heard stories about the. . . . Indians. I
simply wanted to prove there was another side to the culture that most
people were unaware of . . . the inspirational side, the beautiful side, the
meaningful side. "When Webber Borchers traveled to the Pine Ridge
Reservation during his tenure as Chief Illiniwek, he spent many hours
with several of the Sioux men on the reservation learning and perfecting
his dance steps. Upon his departure, they inducted him as an honorary
John Madigan, Chief Illiniwek XXXIII
E. Evolution of Chief Illiniwek
The performance that began with Leutwiler in 1926 and shaped by Webber Borchers
became a tradition at U of I athletic contests. In 1957, a moment of great distinction,
the Chief along with the Illini marching band performed at the second inauguration of
President Dwight D. Eisenhower. There has been an unbroken string of students
portraying Chief Illiniwek. All were men with the exception of one woman, Idelle
Stith-Brooks, who in 1943, was Princess Illiniwek for that one season, reflecting that
there were fewer able-bodied men to portray the Chief during World War II. None of
the student Chiefs have been Native Americans.
Until a serious controversy regarding the continuation of the Chief began in 1989, the
Chief and Indian references played a prominent role on campus and within the local
community. The University lettermen were named "Tribe of Illini. "The junior
honorary society, "Sachem," inducted its members while old members wore Indian
blankets and smoked peace pipes. According to the amount of their donations,
contributors are designated by the Fighting Illini Scholarship Fund as members of
various clubs: Tomahawk Club, Brave Club, Warrior Club, Chief Club, or the Tribal
Council. In the past, the Chief made personal appearances at parades, fund raising
events and local community events, sometimes on horseback.
Merchandising of Chief paraphernalia with the Chief logo (copyrighted in 1981)
appeared on all sorts of sundry items, the same as the logos of other schools are
marketed. Unfortunately, some of the products included such things as: toilet seats,
toilet paper, boxer shorts, and silk panties. Locally, many merchants used Indian
caricatures and Indian or Chief take-offs to advertise their businesses. The University
disapproves of these offensive products. Local citizens have pressured merchants to
eliminate sales of merchandise and the use of advertising linked to Indian caricatures
or any product deemed to be inappropriate.
Since 1989 appearances of the Chief have been curtailed gradually. Currently, he
performs only at halftime of football games, men's basketball games and women's
volleyball games. Additionally, the Department of Agronomy of the University has
discontinued as its logo the use of "Squanto," an Indian cartoon caricature. The Chief
Illiniwek logo no longer appears on University stationery.
F. Funding for the Chief
For many years, all costs associated with maintaining the Chief were carried on the
budget for the University band. At the present time, the costs are included in the
budget of the athletic department.
There are no scholarships or tuition waivers awarded to the student Chiefs. The costs
of maintaining the regalia and providing time for student Chiefs to visit Indian
reservations are minimal.
V. HISTORY OF THE CONTROVERSY
Despite continuous performances by Chief Illiniwek since 1926, the earliest signs of
protest brought to our attention appeared in 1975. The following excerpt appeared in
the University yearbook, Illio, in 1975:
A CHALLENGE TO THE CHIEF
Chief Illiniwek has been hailed as a symbol of University spirit since
1926. But while thousands have cheered his acrobatic gyrations during
halftime, others look upon him with disgust.
"Chief Illiniwek is a mockery not only of Indian customs but also of
white people's culture," said Bonnie Fultz, Citizens for the American
Indian Movement (AIM) executive board member. According to Fultz,
the continued use of Indian history as entertainment degrades the Indian
and disgraces the white race by revealing an ignorance of tribal cultures.
"The Illiniwek exhibition is tantamount to someone putting on a parody
of a Catholic Mass," Norma Linton, Citizens for AIM member and
visiting anthropology lecturer at the University said. She continued by
saying that Chief Illiniwek is an inaccurate composite.
"The Indians within the Illinois area are of a different tribal culture. The
idea of symbols from several different tribes mashed together angers
Indians," she added. "They do not want their individual tribal customs
combined and distorted, but want their traditions to remain separate and
Mike Gonzalez, the current Chief, said that the only requirement in
being considered for the position is an eagle spread jump. However,
Gonzalez felt that Illiniwek is "majestic" and a symbol of fighting spirit.
"In no way does it degrade the American Indian," Gonzalez said. "I think
Illiniwek honors the Indian. "
John Bitzer, Illiniwek from 1970-73, also defended the role. "Other
university mascots are just caricatures but Illiniwek portrays the Indians
as they would want to be portrayed. "
Rep. A. Webber Borchers, R-Decatur, the originator of the costume
while a student at the University, also spoke in defense of Chief
Illiniwek. "It's the most outstanding tradition of any university in the
land, with no intention of disrespect to the Indians," he said.
University officials have sensed the Chief Illiniwek controversy. The
symbol of Chief Illiniwek was removed from University stationary this
year to appease AIM. Everett Kissinger, coordinator of Chief Illiniwek
and marching band director, was indignant about the controversy.
"Illiniwek has been a tradition here since 1926, and I don't want you
people (reporters) opening up a lot of problems about it," he said.
Kissinger in turn has ordered Gonzalez to avoid radio interviews and
large-scale publicity about his role as Chief.
1975 to 1989
From 1975 to 1989, little attention appears to have been paid to the issue on the
campus. In 1989, however, student Charlene Teters, a member of the Spokane Tribe,
began protesting the presence of the Chief at athletic events. Through her efforts, anti-
Chief protests began on campus. Later, she was joined by national groups of
American Indian activists which began concerted attempts to eliminate not only the
Chief, but other school and professional team symbols, mascots, names, logos, etc. ,
that in any way referenced Indians signs or people. The results of these efforts are set
forth later in this report at Section VII.
Student Government Association Action
In October 1989, the Student Government Association (SGA) considered a resolution
that would have encouraged the elimination of the Chief calling the halftime
performance "discriminatory. "At that time a "Dial a Vote" promotion among the
students resulted in a response of 2,002 voting to retain the Chief and 100 voting
against. At the SGA meeting the resolution was watered down to ask the University to
study the issue. At the time, both sides claimed victory. However, in March 1991, the
SGA passed a resolution declaring the Chief Illiniwek performance discriminatory
and calling for programs for its elimination and for an apology to Native Americans.
1990 Action by the Board of Trustees
The unrest caused by the continued anti-Chief demonstrations in 1990 led to a hearing
by the University Board of Trustees regarding continued use of the Chief. On October
1 1,1990, the Board heard from Charlene Teters, Faith Smith and a letter from Rev.
Jesse Jackson offering arguments to abolish the Chief. Heard on behalf of the position
to retain the Chief were former University trustee Jane Hayes Rader of the Illinois
Alumni Association, former Chief Illiniwek, William D. Forsyth, Jr. and a letter form
Donald White. At that time, a 6-1 majority of the Board passed the following motion
made by Trustee Hahn:
The tradition of Chief Illiniwek is a rich one and has meaning for the
students, alumni, and friends of the University of Illinois. For more than
sixty years, the Chief has been the symbol of the spirit of a great
university and of our intercollegiate athletic teams, and as such is loved
by the people of Illinois. The University considers the symbol to be
dignified and has treated it with respect. His ceremonial dance is done
with grace and beauty.
The Chief keeps the memory of the people of a great Native American
tribe alive for thousands of Illinoisans who otherwise would know little
or nothing of them.
I feel that those who view the Chief as a "mascot" or a "caricature" just
don't understand the Chiefs true meaning to thousands of U of I students
and alumni - he is the spirit of the Fighting Illini. The tradition of Chief
Illiniwek is a positive one and I move he be retained.
The Position of the Peoria Tribe
In 1995, the Peoria Tribe, the direct descendants of the remnants of the Illini Tribe,
approved the use of the Chief by the University. At that time, during a WICD (the
Champaign affiliate of NBC) broadcast, Chief Giles of the Peoria tribe stated: "To say
that we are anything but proud to have these portrayals would be completely wrong.
We're proud that the University of Illinois is the major institution in the state, a seat of
learning, and they are drawing on that background of our having been there. And what
more honor could they pay us. "As part of that same broadcast Ron Froman, an officer
in the Peoria Tribe was quoted on the Chief Illiniwek Home Page as saying that the
protestors do not speak for all Native Americans and certainly not for the Peoria
Tribe. The Home Page continued that the opinions of the Peoria tribe members should
bear more weight because they were the only descendants of the Illini. However, on
April 20, 2000, after the Dialogue Intake Session of April 14, 2000, the Peoria Tribe
passed a resolution by a vote of 3 to 2 requesting that the University cease the use of
Hostile Learning Environment?
In 1993, the Native American Student, Staff and Faculty for Progress (NASSFP) was
formed on the Urbana campus, in part, to protest the Chief. Members of the
organization began filing complaints in 1994 with the U. S. Department of Education,
Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Those complaints alleged that the presence of Chief
Illiniwek and the use of the name "Fighting Illini" created a hostile learning
environment for Native Americans resulting in discrimination by the University in
violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Further the complaints alleged
that the University officials did not respond appropriately to the concerns of the
OCR investigated those complaints and conducted an independent survey of Native
American students. Based on its entire investigation, OCR reported to the University
on November 30, 1995:
The alleged specific incidents of harassment, especially those of which
the University had notice, were not proven to be sufficiently severe,
persistent or pervasive so as to establish a racially hostile environment.
Most were isolated and not recent, having occurred between 1989 and
1992. Furthermore, there was insufficient corroborating evidence of
most of these incidents.
Although the Chief Illiniwek symbol, logo, and the name "Fighting
Illini" are offensive to the complainants and others interviewed by OCR,
"offensiveness," in and of itself, is not dispositive in assessing a racially
hostile environment claim under Title VI, particularly in light of the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The entire report is found at Trustees' Appendix @ No. 4. As part of the Dialogue, a
legal memo was submitted alleging that under the law, the presence of Chief Illiniwek
does create a hostile learning environment. Because of the length of that legal memo it
is not included in theTrustees' Appendix but can be found as No. 17741 in the General
Submissions. No attempt will be made in this report to set forth the legal arguments
on each side of the issue.
In 1996, State Representative Rick Winkel, a University of Illinois alumnus,
introduced a bill in the Illinois House of Representatives. That bill as introduced and
passed by the legislatureprovided:
Consistent with a long-standing, proud tradition, the General Assembly
hereby declares that Chief Illiniwek, is and shall remain, the honored
symbol of a great University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-
After an amendatory veto by Governor Jim Edgar, the bill became law effective June
1, 1996. The amendatory veto changed the "shall remain" to "may remain" to let the
issue remain a University decision. (See, 110 ILCS 305/lf. )
In Whose Honor?
In 1997, a documentary entitled "In Whose Honor?" appeared on PBS. Written and
produced by Jay Rosenstein, a 1982 University of Illinois graduate and now an
assistant professor in the U of I Department of Journalism, the film had a definite anti-
Chief point of view. At the beginning of the film, the following quote appears on the
It has ever been the way of the white men in relation to the Indian, first,
to sentimentalize him as a monster until he has been killed off, and
second to sentimentalize him in retrospect as the noble savage.
James Gray, "The Illinois" 1940
The primary focus of the film was anti-Chief activist Charlene Teters. The film
showed clips of Ms. Teters during the various stages of her efforts to eliminate Chief
Illiniwek and Indian logos, etc. used by other schools and professional teams.
During the documentary the following statements were made:
1 . Chief Illiniwek should be eliminated, just as black face entertainers and Frito
Bandito have disappeared.
2. The performance is a distortion of a religious ceremony.
3. The Chief music is "Hollywood Indian" whereas American Indian music sounds
like a heartbeat.
4. In 1989, then U. S. Senator Paul Simon signed an anti-Chief petition.
5. In 1989, Chancellor Morton Weir, while supporting the Chief, caused the
University to cease using Indian caricatures, and he ordered that the "I"
painted on the Chiefs chin be removed.
6. Despite the University of Illinois' elimination of caricatures, other schools used
Indian caricatures on their campus on football weekends when Illinois
was the opponent, at times showing them hanging in effigy, to the insult
of Native American students and visitors.
7. The Universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa passed resolutions refusing to
schedule teams with Indian logos except to comply with Big Ten
8. In 1994, UIUC Chancellor Aiken formed a committee to report on how the
University might make the campus more inclusive. Though part of a
preliminary draft, reference to the Chief was dropped from the final
9. The University of Illinois loves a manufactured Chief.
10. The University must listen to people who say "ouch. "
U of I trustees Susan Gravenhorst and Thomas Lamont were interviewed by
Rosenstein and portions of their interviews asserting their pro-Chief positions
appeared in the film. Recently, at the July 20, 2000 meeting of the Board of Trustees,
they were two of the three trustees casting votes opposing the appointment of Jay
Rosenstein as an assistant professor of journalism. Their objections were based on the
ground that Rosenstein had been less than honest concerning his true intentions when
he had approached them. They said that Rosenstein hadtold that the remarks were
being filmedfor a project connected with his graduate studies. Additionally they stated
that they had refused to sign waivers when Rosenstein had requested that they do. In
light of and in support her fellow trustees' statements, Judith Reese also opposed the
Reaction On Campus
The 1997 release of the documentary gave rise to increased debate about the Chief on
the Urbana campus. In 1998, the Faculty-Student Senate passed a resolution by a vote
of 97 to 29 calling for the end of Chief Illiniwek. Pro-Chief advocates complained of
what they described as the stacked nature of the proceedings. They observed that only
126 members of the 250 member senate attended the session. The agreed list of
speakers, two student pro-Chief and two student anti-Chief, had been enlarged
without notice to include three additional anti-Chief activists: Charlene Teters, Bill
Winneshiek and Prof. Brenda Farnell. As to the list of faculty members presented by
Prof. Stephen Kaufman as favoring the elimination of the Chief, the opposition
remarked that 695 represented only 36% of the 1900 faculty members.
Since that time, the following UIUC departments have passed similar resolutions
calling for the end of the Chief:
College of Medicine
Center for African Studies
School of Life Sciences
Senate Committee on Equal Opportunity
School of Life Sciences
Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences
The following UIUC organizations have joined the protest with similar
Asian- American Association
American Indian Studies Network
Alpha Kappa Delta
Black Organizations Joint Petition
Latino/a Studies Program
La Casa Cultural Latina
Native American Students, Staff and Faculty for Progress
Union of Professional Employees
Counseling Center Staff
Episcopal Church Foundation
Center for African Studies Advisory Association Committee
African American Cultural Program
Central Black Student Union
Mariama3 1 . Ewezo
Black Greek Council
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority
Phi Rho Eta Fraternity
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity
Sigma Gamma Rho
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Men of Impact
Muslin Student Association
Native American Student Organization
Palestinian Student Organization
Hillel Jewish Cultural Center
Organization for Under-Represented Scientists
Professional Students for Social Responsibility
Puerto Rican Student Association
Rainforest Action Group
Students for a Real Democracy
Undergraduate Association of
University YMCA and University
YMCA Student Program Fund
Women's Studies Program
In addition to University departments passing resolutions, there has been significant
individual faculty response. A Swanlund Chair is the most prestigious named chair
that the University awards. Eleven of the thirteen current professors awarded
Swanlund Chairs have signed a resolution calling for the retirement of the Chief and
an end to licensing Native American Indian symbols as representations of the
Currently, there are nineteen professors appointed as Professor for Advanced Study,
an honor of high academic distinction. Thirteen of these professors have
recommended retirement of the Chief. Four of those are included also as Swanlund
Chairs opposing the Chief.
A petition signed by 790 faculty members calling for elimination also has been
forwarded to the Board of Trustees.
Reportedly, at all times the majority of the Alumni Association has backed the
continuance of Chief Illiniwek.
The North Central Association Report
The North Central Association (NCA) in its regular 10-year evaluation report on
continuation of accreditation, devoted considerable discussion to the Chief
controversy. Rather than summarize those references to Chief Illiniwek, those
references are set forth verbatim in Section VI. While emphasizing that the choice of a
school symbol is not an issue for accreditation, the report was critical of the manner in
which the University was addressing the issue. Shortly after the NCA report, the
Board of Trustees voted to establish the current Dialogue leading to this report.
Reaction Beyond the Campus
The controversy has existed and still persists beyond the campus. A number of
organizations unrelated to the University have issued statements or resolutions
addressing the issue of the continued use of Indian related sports designations in
general and the existence of Chief Illiniwek in particular. The National Coalition on
Racism in Sports & Media (NCRSM) has furnished to the Dialogue the names of
those 52 organizations (outside of UIUC) and a description of their documents. Some
of the documents are not specifically directed to Chief Illiniwek, but are included for
completeness in Trustees' Appendix @No. 5.
Prof. Stephen Kaufman has submitted a list of 176 organizations which have spoken
out on the Chief Illiniwek issue. Several of those on that list have been included
previously in the (NCRSM) submission. The same is true of a list of 14 organizations
furnished by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. The lists may
be found in the Trustees' Appendix @ No 6 & No. 7 respectively.
VI. THE NORTH CENTRAL ASSOCIATION REPORT
Rather than summarize the NCA Report, the pertinent references to Chief Illiniwek are set forth
V. THIRD-PARTY COMMENTS
A. Context for Third-Party Contents
The North Central Association received over 100 letters, petitions, press releases, and newspaper
articles protesting the continued use of the school symbol and mascot, Chief Illiniwek. The
Commission also received a copy of Jay Rosenstein's 1997 public television documentary "In
Whose Honor?American Indian Mascots in Sports," which focused extensively on the ten-year
controversy surrounding The Chief. Team members subsequently received several email
messages and letters from UIUC faculty, students, and other opposing The Chief. No letters in
support of The Chief were received, and no letters on any other topic were received.
The team was told during its campus visit that the institution's position is that use of The Chief is
not an accreditation issue, and so it omitted a discussion of the issue from its self-study. The
institution informed those who requested its inclusion that the third-party process could be used
instead. The team agrees that a school mascot per se is not an accreditation issue, but it does feel
that educational consequences of the policy, tied to NCA criteria, are within the purview of an
During the site visit, team members met with opponents to the school symbol, those in favor of
its continued use, the Board of Trustees, the President of the University of Illinois, and the
Chancellor of UIUC. The first two groups included faculty, students, alumni, and community
The Facts. The facts as the team understands them are as follows:
(Paragraphs 1 thru 6 of the report relate in summary the history of the Chief and of the
7. A letter from a distinguished member of the history department argues, as other writers do,
that: 1) The Chief undermines the educational program of the university by distorting American
Indian history; 2) The Chief seriously undermines the university's ability to recruit American
Indian students; 3) The Chief undermines the learning environment of all students by humiliating
American Indian students. Another letter was from the former president of another Big 10
institution, who wrote:
"I know how crucial it is for academic institutions to provide
leadership in encouraging and affirming diversity. As a result, I am
writing to urge the North Central Accreditation Association to
review carefully the negative impact which the current Illinois
mascot has on building a diverse educational community. I am a
lifelong supporter of Big 10 athletics. Nevertheless, Chief Illiniwek
and similar racial caricatures are symbols of discrimination and
ridicule. They are an anathema to good sportsmanship and to
building cultural understanding and mutual respect. "
Many other letters and petitions present similar arguments about why it is time to retire The
8. Statements made by individual Trustees on the 1997 videotape following the 1990 resolution:
1) The Chiefs dance and demeanor are dignified and inoffensive; 2) The Chief is not meant to be
offensive and so therefore should not offend.
9. On March 9, 1998, the Faculty-Student Senate of UIUC passed a resolution to end the
tradition of the Chief.
10. In March, 1998, the Anthropology Department wrote to the Board with these concerns:
"These effects [due to the ongoing presence of the Chief Illiniwek
symbol] extend to all aspects of our scholarly lives: teaching,
service, and research. Several critical areas deserve attention. The
Chief: (i) Promotes inaccurate conceptions of the Native peoples of
Illinois, past and present; (ii) undermines the effectiveness of our
teaching and is deeply problematic for the academic environment
both in and outside of the classroom; (iii) creates a negative
climate in our professional relationships with North American
communities that directly affects our ability to conduct research
with and among Native American people; and (iv) adversely
affects the recruitment of Native American students and faculty
into our university and department. "
B. Evaluation of the Third-Party Comments
The team followed the Commission's directive on Third-Party Comments: Avoid trying to
resolve the validity of individual comments; instead determine whether the comments raise
substantive issues relevant to the institution 's ability to meet the GIRs and Criteria. The team
wishes to emphasize at the outset, however, that it does not believe that the choice of a school
symbol is an issue for accreditation. Nor is the existence of campus controversy necessarily an
accreditation issue. Rather, the team sought to analyze all of the issues surrounding the
controversy in relation to the General Institutional Requirements and the Criteria for
Accreditation. The team has found that the comments do raise substantive issues relative to
communication and governance which are explicated below.
Regarding policy, in 1978 the University of Illinois Board issues the following statement:
"Resolved by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
that it reaffirms its commitment and policy (a) to eradicate
prohibited and invidious discrimination in all its forms; (b) to
foster programs within the law which will ameliorate or eliminate,
where possible, the effects of historical discrimination. . . "
This statement is found in various University publications.
Another statement is found in the Commission's 1991 Statement on Access, Equity, and
". . . regardless of specific institutional practices, the Commission
expects an institution to create and maintain a teaching and
learning environment that supports sensitivity to diverse
individuals and groups. Further, the Commission expects an
affiliated institution to . . . [teach] students and faculty alike to see
in proper perspective the differences that separate and the
commonalities that bind all people and cultures. "
Another principle is found in UIUC's strategic plan, A Framework for the Future:
"First, we invest in people: the people who constitute our campus
community, at all levels, represent an increasingly diverse
population,. . . Diversity may challenge accepted wisdom, and may
lead to the re-examination of long-held values. Such debates are
welcome on this campus, for they are valuable features of
intellectual life. We are committed to conducting them in ways that
promote and preserve freedom and civility of action and speech. . .
Certainly, the institution has the right and the responsibility to establish policy, including policies
about The Chief. The team notes, however, that it also has adopted a policy against invidious
discrimination. "Invidious" means "tending to arouse ill will, animosity, or resentment. "This has
been the hallmark of the controversy over The Chief. In reconsidering its policy on The Chief,
the institution should take into account the fact that to be accredited means to be a member of the
North Central Association, i. e. the policies of the Board should be generally consistent with the
policies of the Association, including the Statement on Access, Equity, and Diversity.
Moreover, there is no doubt in the team's mind that the continued controversy is having a
negative effect on the educational effectiveness of UIUC. Ample testimony was received from
individual faculty and relevant academic departments about how their missions and programs
were negatively affected by The Chief. The team did not find the evidence it hoped to see that
the institution has plans to deal with the negative effects of The Chief on educational
Under its Criterion Five, the Commission speaks to institutional integrity. By "integrity," the
Commission means that the institution adheres to its own ethical values as adopted through
institutional policies and procedures. The Commission does not seek to prescribe any single set
of principles for all institutions. As was noted above, the institution has adopted a statement of
ethical principles with respect to discrimination, and to the team's knowledge, has not articulated
why its policy on The Chief is in keeping with this statement.
In summary, the considerable evidence on this subject leads the team to these conclusions:
1. The use of The Chief is an educational issue.
2. The controversy surrounding The Chief will not go away.
3. The institution appears not to be addressing the issue in a manner consistent with some of the
policies and principles of its Board, its own strategic plan, the Commission.
4. It is the responsibility of the leadership of the institution to create the environment that will
allow for resolution of the controversy in a manner consistent with the principles
of the North Central Association and the goals of the University of Illinois at
The teams wishes to emphasize, however, that it is not advocating a particular outcome, nor does
it believe that "resolution" means that all interested parties are satisfied with the outcome. The
role of the team is to point out to the institution and to the North Central Association any
discrepancies it has found between the way in which the institution is handling the controversy
and the principles of accreditation. The team returns to this subject in Section VIII.
* * *
VIII. RECOMMENDATIONS AND RATIONAL
Recognizing the exemplary quality of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and its
many achievements, the recommendation of the team is to continue UIUC on a regular decennial
review cycle (with two stipulations justified below), because it easily meets or surpasses the
General Institutional Requirements and the Criteria for Accreditation.
The team considered whether the issue discussed in Section V are of sufficient magnitude to
overshadow the otherwise outstanding record of UIUC. As was stated earlier in this report, the
team does not consider the use of The Chief, nor the concomitant controversy, to be accreditation
issues by themselves. The team is concerned, however, about the governance of the institution in
this respect and about the methods the institution has used to address the controversy. While
these difficult issues ultimately must be solved internally, the team's role is to call attention to the
need for urgency in changing the institution's methods of addressing the issues now. Without
greater focused efforts to resolve the issue, the team is convinced that the University's laudable
goals to create and maintain a diverse educational community will be difficult to achieve. Thus,
the team recommends that a progress report be filed with the Commission by January 1, 2001,
delineating the processes that the institution has initiated to prepare for a focused visit on the
issues surrounding The Chief. The team recommends that the focused visit be conducted in
During the focused visit, the team recommends that the institution present
convincing Intra-institutional communication and shared governance : The
institution should show that all relevant constituencies have been allowed to
engage fully in discussion, and that the reasons for decisions reached have been
fully articulated to all interested parties. In particular, the institution should
address the educational impact of the continued use of The Chief.
Consistent policies . The institution should resolve what appears to many, both
within and outside of the University, to be inconsistencies between its exemplary
diversity policies and practices, and its policies regarding The Chief. The team
emphasizes again that it does not believe that The Chief per se is an accreditation
issue. It is incumbent upon any public institution, however, to articulate the
rationale for its policies, especially when they are in apparent contradiction with
In the progress report, the institution should show that it has defined and begun executing a
process for addressing the issues surrounding The Chief.
VII. HOW OTHER SCHOOLS HAVE DEALT WITH ISSUE OF INDIAN
Many schools and educational organizations have addressed the issue of Indian logos or
references with regard to team names. There has been a long list of universities and colleges that
have changed their logos, mascots or names. That list, together with school-related organizations
speaking out on the subject, is included below:
Dartmouth- "Indians" to "Big Green"
Marquette University retired "Willie Wampum" mascot and later changed name from
"Warriors" to "Golden Eagles"
Stanford - "Indians" to "Cardinal"
Dickinson State (North Dakota) - "Savages" to "Blue Hawks"
University of Oklahoma retired "Little Red" mascot
Syracuse University retired "Saltine Warrior"
Southern Oregon University ceased using Indian depictions to promote its "Red Raiders"
Sienna College (Loudonville, New York) - "Indians" to "Saints"
The National Education Association passed two resolutions denouncing the use of ethnic-
related sports team mascots, symbols and nicknames
Eastern Michigan University - "Huron" to "Eagles"
Simpson College - "Redmen" and "Lady Reds" to "Thundercats"
State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction issues directive "strongly urging"
discontinuance of use in all Wisconsin schools of American Indian-related
Hartwick College (Oneconto, New York) - "Warriors" to "Hawks"
St. Johns University (New York) - "Redmen" to "Redstorm"
Miami of Ohio - "Redskins" to "Redhawks"
Adams State (Colorado) - "Indian" to "Grizzly"
Southern Nazarene University (Oklahoma) - "Redskins" to "Crimson Storm"
NCAA committee reports that "Indian mascots that use Indian caricatures and mimic
ceremonial rites do not comply with the NCAA's commitment to ethnic student
Oklahoma City University - "Chiefs" to "Stars"
Hendrix College (Arkansas) retires Indian head logo but retains "Warriors" nickname
Seattle University - "Chieftains" to "Red Hawks"
We are aware of three other Division I schools in addition to the U of I that have retained their
Indian references: Florida State (Seminoles); North Dakota (Fighting Sioux): and San Diego
State (Aztecs with mascot Montezuma).
Florida State University
While Florida State College began as a women's college, in 1947 it became coed and was
renamed Florida State University (FSU). At that time, the school conducted a campus-wide
contest to select a name for its athletic teams. "Seminoles" was the winning entry.
In 1975, in consultation with Chief Howard Tommie, then chairman of the Seminole Tribe of
Florida, FSU created Osceola, a portrayal of an Indian who charges onto the football field on
horseback at the beginning of home football games. Osceola ends his charge by throwing a
flaming lance at midfield. Osceola appears only at home football games and at the homecoming
parade. The Seminole Tribe designed the costume worn by Osceola. Historically, Osceola was a
Seminole leader who was captured by Federal troops in the battle to move the Seminoles from
Florida to the unoccupied land west of the Mississippi. After dying while in captivity, he remains
honored by the Seminoles to this day.
The student who rides as Osceola is selected by the owner of the horse and not the University. In
addition, to perpetuate the tradition after the owner's death, he has established a trust fund for the
replacement and care of the horses.
The Seminole Tribe participates in many University functions. The present Chief has given
concerts at the University in his native language. Each year, a homecoming Chief and Princess
are elected by the student body. At halftime of the homecoming football game, a Princess and
Junior Princess from the Seminole Tribe crown the student Chief and Princess with headdresses
designed and made by the Seminoles. A tribal chant has been presented to the University but has
proven difficult for the crowds to perform.
Florida law provides for a college scholarship fund for the benefit of members of the Seminole
and Miccosukee Tribes. The scholarship committee honors the recommendations of the tribes as
to who should be the recipients of the scholarships.
National native American groups have opposed the use of Seminoles as the FSU nickname. For
those protestors opposing the use of the name and who routinely picket FSU home football
games, the school provides a secure place for them to picket. Interestingly, there has been no
vocal protest of the use of Osceola.
The following article, found on the FSU website, is informative:
Seminoles - Heroic Symbol at Florida State
By Dr. Dale W. Lick
Former President, Florida State University
The history of the Seminole Indians in Florida is the story of a noble, brave,
courageous, strong and determined people who, against great odds, struggled
successfully to preserve their heritage and live their lives according to their
traditions and preferences.
From its earliest days as a university, Florida State has proudly identified its
athletic teams with these heroic people because they represent the traits we want
our athletes to have. Other athletic teams are called Patriots or Volunteers in the
same way - they use a symbol that represents qualities they admire.
Recent critics have complained that the use of Indian symbolism is derogatory.
Any symbol can be misused and become derogatory. This, however, has never
been the intention at Florida State.
Over the years, we have worked closely with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to
ensure the dignity and propriety of the various Seminole symbols we use. Chief
Osceola, astride his Appaloosa when he plants a flaming spear on the 50-yard
line, ignites a furious enthusiasm and loyalty in thousands of football fans, but
also salutes a people who have proven that perseverance with integrity prevails.
Some traditions we cannot control. For instance, in the early 1980's, when our
band, the Marching Chiefs, began the now-famous arm motion while singing the
"war chant," who knew that a few years later the gesture would be picked up by
other team's fans and named the "tomahawk chop?"It's a term we did not choose
and officially do not use.
Our university's goal is to be a model community that treats all cultures with
dignity while celebrating diversity.
I have appointed a task force to review our use of Seminole Indian symbols and
traditions. This study group will identify what might be offensive and determine
what needs to be done.
Our good relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida is one we have
cultivated carefully and one we hope to maintain, to the benefit of both the
Seminoles of our state and university.
Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman James E. Billie expressed the point in these
words: "We are proud to be Seminoles, and we are proud of the Florida State
University Seminoles. We are all winners. "
(from USA Today, Tuesday, May 18, 1993;
University of North Dakota
In contrast to the lack of any significant campus controversy at FSU, the University of North
Dakota (UND) is engaged currently in a process very similar to the U of I's Dialogue. >From
news accounts, the mood of the campus protests at that campus in Grand Forks is far more
heated than at the Urbana campus. Among the several reasons for the difference is that there are
more Native American students at UND than at U of I. Additionally, most of the Native
American students at UND are from tribes other than Sioux.
At UND, the issue of the retention of the nickname is considered to be an administrative issue
and as such is being handled by the president of the university. Since 1971 three different
presidents of the university have dealt with the issue. Betweenl971 and 1992, during the tenure
of President Thomas Clifford, several Indian-related issues were addressed. These issues
included elimination of caricatures, development of Indian Studies, and the establishment of
various support programs for Indian students. As he was retiring from his presidency, President
Clifford's last public statement on the use of the name and symbol was: "I just don't see the
reason for changing it right now. The very leaders of the Sioux Nation supported that. When the
leaders of the Sioux Nation come and tell me they don't want it, I'll respect that. "
From 1992 through 1999 under President Kendall Baker's administration, steps were taken to get
more Indian input into the broad issues of Indian relations. However, the controversy over the
nickname and the question of the elimination of the school's Blackhawk emblem escalated. In
February, 1999, President Baker made his last public statement on the issue:
A controversy over the use of the Sioux team name was among the first issues
that faced me when I came to North Dakota in 1992. After much conversation and
consultation, it was my conclusion that there was no consensus on this issue, not
even among Native Americans. I decided, therefore, that the respectful use of the
team name should continue and, indeed, that the appropriate use of the name
could be a positive influence in helping UND encourage respect and appreciation
for diversity in all of its forms. Although some individuals disagreed with me
then, as they do today, this remains my position on the issue.
In closing, let me be very clear: Although the approach UND took regarding the
team name was and is, in my view, an appropriate one, I also have stated on
numerous public occasions that the issue remains on the agenda for dialogue,
discussion, and learning.
On July 1, 1999, the term of UND president, Charles E. Kupchella, began. The protests not only
have continued but have escalated to the point that there are safety concerns on campus. At the
beginning of the spring semester, President Kupchella announced plans to work with the
University Senate and the Strategic Planning Committee in the formation of a group to examine
the issues raised by the controversy and make recommendations to him on its resolution.
Shortly after that announcement, President Kupchella formed the committee with the faculty
representative to the NCAA as chair. In addition, the committee includes two former North
Dakota state governors, a retired Colorado Supreme Court justice, representatives from the
alumni association, Native American groups, Native American students, faculty members, and
athletes. The committee has met several times and a report may be forthcoming very soon.
However, the president has reserved the right to make the final decision himself.
As part of the discussion process at UND, a historical and contextual summary has been prepared
by an assistant to the president. That summary can be found at: The university has invited
comments from readers interested in the UND debate. The report on the web site is edited from
time to time to reflect any of those corrections and additions. For the convenience of the U of I
Board of Trustees, a copy of the UND's current updated report is being submitted with this report
as Trustees' Appendix @ No. 8.
San Diego State University
"Aztecs" and "Monty Montezuma''
San Diego State University (SDSU) finds itself similarly involved in a designation controversy
as exists on the Urbana campus and at UND. The sports teams have used the name Aztecs for 75
years. The cheerleading mascot, Monty Montezuma, is named for Montezuma II, the ruler of the
Aztec empire in the 16 th century.
At a September 27, 2000 meeting of the school's Associated Students Council, a resolution to
retire the Aztec name, logo and the mascot passed by a vote of 22 - 8 - 1. Additionally, the
resolution called for more course offerings about languages and cultures of indigenous peoples
of America, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Philippines. Further, the resolution calls for the
Associated Students Council to form an ad hoc committee to create a new name and mascot and
report to the president of the University by the Spring of 2001.
The resolution now will go to the University Senate for its consideration. However, final
determination will be made by University President Stephen Weber. He has indicated that he will
consider the opinions of the 30,000 students, 180,000 alumni and the San Diego residents at
large. In the meantime, the name and the mascot will remain.
VIII. ARGUMENTS ADVANCED
The Chief's value as a tradition outweighs other factors; he is not racist, he is a nostalgic
link for alumni of the University and a focal point for school pride and spirit, both laudable
Many anti-Chief protestors concede that the people supporting the Chief have good intentions.
What were and are those intentions? At the time of the creation of the Chief football coach Bob
Zuppke referred to Illiniwek as exemplifying "the complete human being-the strong, agile human
body, the unfettered human intellect, the indomitable human spirit. "Surely, the initial concept of
Chief Illiniwek was nothing but highly honorable and respectful. Whether or not Zuppke's image
was accurate, or the character and performance selected to convey that image was authentic,
makes little difference to the Chiefs supporters because the desired honorable message and
intention have been delivered successfully for so many years until this relatively recent
While the performance of the Chief has remained somewhat constant, the University has made
an effort to remove those practices that might be viewed as disrespectful or abusive of that initial
image and intention. Thus, through the years, a tradition of the Chief has developed that deserves
its own history and respect. Many alums and fans have taken this performance with its tradition
as a bond to the University and a reminder of their positive experiences on campus. The
performance has existed for the better part of a century, most of which has been without
This year the Chief Illiniwek Educational Foundation produced a movie entitled, The Chief. The
history and tradition of the Chief are told primarily by the use of old film clips and statements
from former students who have portrayed the Chief through the years. While most of the factual
accounts have been set forth in this report previously, the theme of the production sets forth how
the Chief Illiniwek tradition is regarded by his great number of followers:
The Chief represents everything good about the University of Illinois;
He is a link to our great past;
He is a tangible symbol of an intangible spirit filled with qualities a person of any
background can aspire to: goodness, strength, bravery, truthfulness, courage, and dignity;
He is all men;
He is every man.
The pro-Chief supporters insist that the above elements of the Chief tradition are not
racist. Webster's Dictionary defines racism as:
1. a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial
differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2. racial prejudice or discrimination.
Under the first definition of racism, the Chief is racist only to the extent that the Indian is
perceived as a higher quality of human than others. Thus, it is argued that the Indians should be
proud that the University seeks to honor those perceived traits. Additionally, under the second
definition, the elevation of the Indian does not show a prejudice against him nor a discrimination.
Those people who through these many years have experienced the chills, goose bumps and tears
during the Chiefs performances, argue that the tradition itself should be respected. They feel that
suddenly we are not to revisit those decades of tradition and somehow re-label as dishonorable
the intentions of those who have portrayed the Chief and those who have celebrated the
The vast majority of people familiar with the Chief admire him and they demonstrate this
admiration by standing when he performs. His performance is combined with the singing
of the University's alma mater.
Enjoy it and appreciate it.
Seeing Chief is like a religious experience.
I get chills up and down my spine.
I get goose bumps.
I get a tear in my eye.
Not racist when people view it in respect.
Inspires me to be involved in Indian affairs.
Native Americans and those familiar with Native American culture can best determine
whether a depiction of Native American culture is offensive or insulting; others cannot
fully appreciate the significance and effects caused by the Chief.
Listen to us when we say "ouch. "
There is no respect for the Indian when you do not listen.
If you have respect for a person and you do something that hurts that person, and
you are asked to stop, then you stop. Continued use after protest is humiliating.
To have anyone else (non-native people) make the decision would give the message that
we still believe Native Americans to be an inferior people whose opinion is unimportant
The Chief was created as a personification of the name OIllinois.6 The OlllinoisO (or the
OllliniO) were a confederacy of Native American peoples that inhabited southern
Wisconsin, northern Illinois and parts of eastern Iowa and Missouri; that intent continues,
and to ensure this, the University has attempted to restrict the uses of the Chief to avoid
disrespectful uses, such as placing the Chief's emblem on toilet paper; the University will
continue to be diligent in this effort.
He draws me closer to other cultures
He is peaceful
He is dignified
It is respectful
The existence/non-existence of a sports symbol lies within the discretion of the University,
which should not be subject to the outspoken views of a few detractors.
Organized objections are relatively recent and appear to be learned responses.
Objections are motivated only by political correctness.
Attitudes about the Chief should be changed by education rather than protest.
OSymbolsO and OmascotsO should unite and not divide people; encouraging them to
support common goals, etc. The Chief fails in this. His presence is divisive, not unifying,
and that divisiveness has grown over time.
Action by Board of Trustees in 1990 did not end controversy.
Recognizing the problems associated with the use of Native American designations, logos
and mascots, many other institutions long ago ceased using them. The trend of elimination
of these items continues.
Pro-Chief people will lose nothing if Chief is retired.
Pain of losing Chief is not as lasting as pain of racism.
The Chief is based on a racist and stereotypical image of American Indians; moreover, the
fact that it is a static portrayal of that group creates and fosters a one-dimensional image of
all of its members.
Webster's defines "stereotype" as it relates to this issue as "a standardized mental picture that is
held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, effective
attitude or uncritical judgment. "
To the critics of the Chief, he is a one-dimensional creation depicting an Illini chief as a
centuries-old, Sioux-outfitted, dancing, plains Indian. This corresponds to the image that comes
to mind for most Americans who have gained their knowledge of Indian lore through Hollywood
Critics of the Chief argue that the European Americans idealized the simple and, what they
regarded as, noble life of the American Indian in this fertile American paradise. Once the
Europeans sought the land that the Indians occupied, the image of the native changed to that of
the savage Indian who attacked the peaceful settlers. After the Indian was conquered, the brave,
noble and resourceful image of the Indian was restored.
The image did not remain that simple. The treatment of the American Indians and how the
newcomers dealt with the natives' customs contributed to the present image to which many
Indians object. During the nineteenth century, the policy of the U. S. government was to remove
the Indians from the desirable lands and then by converting them to Christianity, the Indians'
religions and customs, perceived by the government to be heathen and immoral, would be
eliminated. The Civilization Act of 1819 called for the active destruction of Indian religions.
Every effort was made to discourage their use of their language and to end their cultural
practices, especially their dances, which were considered heathen, warlike or immoral. In 1885,
an Indian convicted of participating in certain traditional dances could have his rations withheld
for up to ten days for a first offense and for a subsequent offense, he could be imprisoned for 30
In 1890, Indians, at various Sioux reservations in the Dakotas, were observed performing the
Ghost Dance. That dance, performed at a frenzied beat, was a cult dance with an anti- white
theme that prayed for a return of the Indians' land so that they could live in their old way. Agents
for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, fearing for their lives, called upon the U. S. Army for
After the army arrived, soldiers attempted a capture of then-Chief Sitting Bull who was killed
during that attempt. Chief Big Foot, who was thought to be the next target, sought refuge at the
Pine Ridge reservation. A battle ensued wherein hundreds of men, women and children were
killed at the battle of Wounded Knee, said to be the last battle of the Indian wars. The victorious
army captured thirty "ringleaders" and confined them at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. This
imprisonment was meant to keep these men removed from the reservation to prevent the
resumption of the Ghost Dances and any conflict that might thereby result.
At the same time, Buffalo Bill Cody was conducting his popular Wild West Shows worldwide.
He came to various reservations recruiting Indians to join his troupe. This practice was received
with mixed reaction both in and out of the Indian community. Some Indians regarded those who
signed on to be traitors who would be corrupted by the white man's habits. Some white settlers
opposed the plan because it helped to perpetuate Indian customs that they were attempting to
eradicate. Other Indians and settlers saw the employment as an opportunity for the Indians to rise
When Buffalo Bill visited Chicago, he and the army general in charge of the prisoners struck a
deal whereby prisoners were given an option of signing on with Buffalo Bill to become show
Indians in exchange for their release from custody. Twenty-three prisoners opted for release and
employment as show Indians traveling and performing world wide with Buffalo Bill.
Anti-Chief proponents point out that while it was illegal for Indians to perform their rituals on
the reservations, it was deemed proper to engage in those very practices for the profit of the Wild
West shows. In addition, at the time of the creation of Chief Illiniwek in 1926,forms of Indian
dancing still remained banned on the reservations. It was not until the Indian Reorganization Act
of 1934 that those restrictions were abolished. Thus, the dance of Chief Illiniwek being
performed by a white man is said to be a reminder to American Indians that in the past, their own
tribal dancing by their ancestors had led to their imprisonment and even their death.
The Wild West shows leaned heavily on the portrayal of the plains Indian, mainly the Sioux. The
popularity of the Wild West shows stamped that image in the minds of the non-Indian public.
The Hollywood western quickly and easily adopted that same Sioux Indian image perpetuated by
Buffalo Bill. Thus, for the majority of Americans, that image remains today. The anti-Chief
advocates assert that the popular image that is held by the majority of the public meets the
definition of a stereotype. That stereotype is often referred to by non-Indians when they
encounter Indians for the first time leading to insulting comments about Indians whooping and
dancing. Indian children are said to be particularly singled out for ridicule by other children in
Anti-Chief advocates lament the fact that many Indians themselves have contributed to the very
image that the protesters wish to be eliminated. Today, it is not uncommon for Indians, for profit,
to perform their dances for the entertainment of the general public. Additionally, Indian
gambling casinos often are advertised with Indians in tribal dress and sometimes even advertised
with unflattering Indian caricatures.
Native American protestors of Chief Illiniwek urge that they do not wish to be stereotyped even
if that stereotype is intended to be a positive one. Their position is that world class universities
have a responsibility to foster accurate perceptions of cultural minorities rather than perpetuating
fallacies. They assert that every Asian should not be viewed as being a math whiz; every
African- American should not be viewed as an athlete; and every American Indian should not be
viewed as a proud, brave, noble, dancing and whooping plainsman.
Native Americans find the Chief to be offensive and insulting; his existence trivializes their
struggles and dehumanizes them.
Ridicules our race
Leads to derogatory statements and gestures
U. S. policy of removal of Indians in 19 th Century and early 20 th Century would
be considered ethnic cleansing today.
Elimination of Indian names and symbols from modern American culture will not serve to
remedy the wrongs perpetrated in the past.
Anti Chief movement seeks to make victims of present day Indians and foster guilt for
Retiring a positive stereotype of an American Indian will worsen plight, Only negative
stereotypes of Indians may remain.
This decision should not be made on basis of group claiming to be insulted; rather it should
be on the basis of whether anyone should be insulted.
Feeling of the members of the borrowed culture should not be the norm of morality for
the borrowing culture.
It seems oddly inappropriate to assign a moral value to a cultural influence.
The Chief is an unauthorized and inappropriate use of sacred, religious items:
D face paint.
In addition, the costume is an inaccurate depiction of the Illini since it is Ogala Sioux, not
The right to wear eagle feathers had to be earned by the warriors.
"Hollywood Indian" — referring to the music at halftime
Indian music is like a heartbeat.
Chiefs with long feather bonnets did not dance.
False solemn occasion
Inaccurate sacred dance
Authenticate or abolish.
Chief Illiniwek's dance and costume are not sacrilegious because they are akin to Native-
American fancy dancing at pow-wows.
White people often dance at pow-wows.
American Indians travel and compete in fancy dancing contests and their routines
may include back flips, high kicks, and splits.
Chief Illiniwek is a symbol taken from Native American cultures by predominantly Anglo
people; there has been a clear appropriation.
To misuse the Chief primarily for athletic and entertainment purposes dishonors the cultures
from which he has been appropriated.
The Chiefs performance, not necessarily meant to be authentic, is an art form protected by
the First Amendment right of free speech.
(One speaker in criticizing the Anti-Chief resolution passed by the Department of
One would think that the very first to step forward in defending a form of
expression would be the English department of a university. Other expressions of
art said to be racist or sexist: Mein Kamp; Huckleberry Finn; To Kill a
Mockingbird; Tom Sawyer; The Grapes of Wrath. Some groups seeking to
remove Chief seek to remove these other works.
The group most closely linked to the Illini tribe, the Peoria Tribe, have urged the
University to retire the Chief.
C. Effect on Campus
The Chief has a negative impact on the reputation, educational mission, and financial well
being of the University:
-the University is viewed by many as insensitive to the rights of Native Americans;
-various departments have found it difficult to recruit faculty (e.g.; Anthropology,
D some members of the Big Ten conference, such as the Universities of Iowa, Wisconsin
and Minnesota, have resolved not to compete in athletic events against teams with
OmascotsO like the Chief, and do so against Illinois only because it is a member of the
D several organizations have refused to hold or attend meetings at the Urbana campus or
the University's other campuses, and have advised others not to attend any such meetings;
D several national organizations have taken a stand against the Chief.
See the submission by Prof. Brenda Farnell in Trustees' Appendix @ No. 9.
Both sides are resorting to extortion: alumni supporters who say that they will not
contribute if the Chief goes; and opponents who will boycott the University if he stays.
The presence of the Chief presents a racially hostile environment.
It has not been shown that the Chief creates a racially hostile environment. (See 11/30/95
decision of the U.S. Dept. of Ed. Office of Civil Rights, which, after a 20-month
investigation, concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show a racially hostile
The term "racially hostile environment" is a legal concept used to determine whether
there has been a violation of the Civil Rights Act. As noted in Section V, no attempt will
be made to set forth the legal authority in support of these two conflicting arguments.
The presence of the Chief has led to the OChief controversy,6 which distracts the Urbana
campus and the University from pursuing other, more important goals.
Does not achieve goal of a teaching and learning environment
Does not achieve goal of sensitivity to diverse groups and individuals
No learning involved-just entertainment
For the present day students of the University, The Chief provides the beginning of that
link with the institution that a great majority of the alumni associate with school pride and
D. General Arguments
The General Assembly of the State strongly supports the Chief; the University of Illinois
Act (110 ILCS 305/lf) states that Othe General Assembly hereby declares that Chief
Illiniwek is, and may remain, the honored symbol of a great university, the University of
Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. 6 (eff. 6/1/96) Retiring the Chief could have adverse
consequences in terms of funding and future legislation affecting the University.
Retiring the Chief could have adverse financial consequences for the University in terms of
reductions in gifts to the University and lost royalties.
Both sides are resorting to extortion: alumni supporters who say that they will not
contribute if the Chief goes; and opponents who will boycott the University if he stays.
Since the U of I is the flagship public university in the state, the opinions of state residents
should determine the outcome; most Illinois residents favor retaining the Chief.
Sun-Times poll-86% favor retention of Chief
90% of Dad's Association approve
86% of Mom's Association approve
As seen in this country and elsewhere, on many social and moral issues, the majority is not
always correct; thus, the fact that a majority of people do not find the Chief offensive
should not determine whether the Chief is offensive; the University should take a
leadership role on this issue.
This is an ethical question.
Slavery and male-only voting were traditions.
The continued presence of the Chief leads and contributes to:
D an unrealistic view of Native Americans;
D a hostile environment for Native Americans and other people of color;
-discrimination against Native Americans and others in the University, local communities,
Chief does not pass the Rotary test:
Lis it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER UNDERSTANDING?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL TO ALL?
Real issue is money.
The use of Native American words and identities is pervasive throughout our culture; these
uses range from the names of states and cities to automobiles and other commercial
products; indeed, the names of the State and University reflect that practice.
If I was a Native American, I would be proud to be represented by the Chief.
This is a slippery slope; if the University retires the Chief, then the use of OFighting IlliniO
and OllliniO would be challenged next.
The next thing we would have to change is the name of the state.
IX. THE DIALOGUE MAIL-BOX
Another important function of the Dialogue was the establishment of a method whereby
members of the general public could express their opinion via U. S. Mail and e-mail. The
purpose was to gather as many divergent ideas and arguments as possible and to afford members
of the public an opportunity to be heard. Never was it intended that the responses be considered a
poll or a contest.
As time has passed, a great deal of interest has been expressed in a tally of how many favor
retention of the Chief and how many are opposed. Such statistical results should be viewed with
caution, and should not be taken as any kind of accurate measure of public opinion. Public
opinion was not sampled in any scientific way. Because these responses were motivated by a self
selection process, the results may be skewed.
Corla Hagenbruch of the office of the Board of Trustees was responsible for handling of the
tremendous number of items received by the University. Jean Casserly of Cahill, Christian and
Kunkle, Ltd. (CCK) was in charge of the team that processed the mail once it was received from
the Board. These two women together with their staffs are to be commended for their efforts
which were carried out very professionally and efficiently.
Processing of Dialogue Mail-Box Submissions at UIUC
A. U. S. Mail
Hand delivered mail was forwarded to the Office of the Board of Trustees of the University.
Upon receipt, each piece of mail was counted and the number of letters received per day was
recorded. All mail received between February 16, 2000and June 12, 2000 was opened and two
copies of each submission were made. The original letters and one set of copies remain in the
custody of the Board of Trustees Office. The second copy was forwarded to CCK.
B. Electronic Mail
E-mail submissions received between February 16, 2000 through the first week of June were
similarly opened, counted and recorded on a daily basis. The Trustees' Office printed out a hard
copy of each e-mail. An additional copy of each print-out was prepared and forwarded to CCK.
The mail was opened, the envelopes were stapled, address information was highlighted, and
"Thank You" letters from the Board of Trustees were prepared.
Processing of Dialogue Mail-Box Submissions at CCK
Upon receipt of copies of electronic and hand-delivered mail, the CCK staff affixed a numbered
label to each article of mail. By numbering each document, CCK was able to maintain an
electronic inventory, allowing it to track the over 18,000 documents received from
approximately 15,000 individuals.
Once assigned a number, each submission was entered into an Access database. Information
captured in the database included each respondent's affiliation with the University, his/her
position regarding retaining or eliminating The Chief and the method by which the response was
conveyed. These projects required a staff of three, two of whom worked full time on the project
for three months.
The following table reflects the statistical results of the survey. The individual responses have
yet to be scanned for general publication. While there may be some minor inaccuracies in the
data base which will be corrected on the web site, the results will not be altered significantly.
In reviewing the results, the reader must be mindful of the following:
1. Multiple entries from the same source weretabulated only once.
2. Occasionally, e-mail was sent to the Dialogue mail-box in error (e. g. inquiries for
admission to the University, notifications of e-mail recipients being out of town,
etc. )In these instances, the submission was noted to be non-responsive and not
3. On a few occasions, a multi-page submission accidently was given more than one
number. In each ofthose instances, the submission was counted only once.
4. On occasion, it was apparent that a particular comment was submitted by someone
affiliated with the University, but not determinable whether the individual was a
student, faculty member or employee of the University. In those instances, the
submission was classified as an employee.
5. If a person's affiliation was not determinable as a student, faculty member, employee,
alumni or Illinois resident, the submission was included as part of the general
6. Despite the best efforts of those involved in the data entry process, we were unable to
identify every individual submitting an opinion. Some respondents only included
their e-mail address, some provided only their first name or no name at all, and
some signatures were indecipherable. In order to insure that every opinion was
included, when no unique identifying information was available, responses were
identified as "anonymous" or "illegible" and included in the survey.
7. As indicated in the survey results, some respondents did not express a definitive
opinion. Rather, some expressed hope that a compromise might be reached, some
proposed an alternative, others requested additional information regarding the
controversy, or complained of the use of time and tax dollars spent on the
controversy. These responses were included in the survey as either "neutral" or
The Board of Trustees intends to make all of the submissions to the Dialogue mail-box available
to the public. To accomplish this, certain precautions are being take to protect the privacy of the
respondents. Signatures, personal address and phone numbers are being redacted from responses
prior to scanning and subsequent publication. In addition, care is being taken to honor requests
from individuals who specifically asked that their responses not be made public. Details as to the
publication and accessibility of this report, the Trustees' Appendix, and General Submissions
will be released through the office of the Board of Trustees.
X. DISCUSSION OF COMPROMISE
To the relatively uninformed observer of the debate, a compromise solution might
seem to be reasonable area for discussion. Very little has been submitted to the
Dialogue regarding the potential conditions for compromise, i. e. , the Chief could
remain under certain conditions. In seeking input for this report, an attempt was made
to find persons with authority to spell out terms for such a compromise if in fact some
discussion of compromise could be made part of this report.
In selecting speakers to appear at the Intake Session of April 14, 2000, representatives
from pro and anti-Chief groups were consulted. While discussing the selection and
priority of anti-Chief proponents with Michael Haney of the American Indian
Arbitration Institute, the question was asked if there was some middle ground in this
debate. He indicated that one probably could be fashioned. He was informed that he
would be questioned about a possible compromise during his speaking portion of the
At the morning Intake session, Mr. Haney did not address a possible compromise in
his prepared remarks. At the conclusion of his presentation there was this colloquy:
MODERATOR GARIPPO: Mr. Haney, first I want to thank you and
Miss Ostrovsky and Mr. Wakeland for assisting me in identifying the
groups here. When you were in my office the other day, you indicated to
me that there is some middle ground here. And I asked you if you would
present that, present your proposal today.
Now, you didn't do it during your address, but I am going to give you
extra time now to address the issue of where do you think a middle
ground might be?
MR. HANEY: Sir, I accept the sentiments of the organization called the
Red Roots, the Native organization led by Debbie Reese that talked
about establishing a Native American studies department. (1) I firmly
support the establishment and endowment of a Native American studies
chair. I also would like to encourage a scholarship fund be implemented
to perhaps maybe fund, through the merchandising of the images that the
University finds so successful marketing our image. We also, we have,
we have children that would love to come to this University. We would
identify those. I chair my education committee back home. I would love
to send my gifted and talented people here.
You develop, we would offer our resources, offer the consultation of our
educational officers to help develop a comprehensive education
improvement program. We also would encourage the development of
course work and the aggressive improvement of Native students. We
would join with that if there was a dialogue we can talk, because we
have never sat down and talked before, sir. We are standing ready to put
our minds and our resources together to come to a conclusion that
everyone wants here.
MODERATOR GARIPPO: As I understand you and Miss Reese, then
the Chief could stay, that the - if you got these other things that you
asked for, the Chief could stay and it would be then through the
educational process that over time you would feel that the Chief would
die as a result of greater educational opportunities on the campus, is that
MR. HANEY: Yes, sir. We realize it's been 500 years. We realize that
the University is a slow learner. But yes, we think they will come to that
(TV. Intake Session, pp. 48-50)
Immediately after the above colloquy, a number of anti-Chief people in the audience
approached Mr. Haney in the rear of the hall. At the noon demonstration outside
Foellinger Auditorium, Mr. Haney indicated to the crowd that had gathered that there
could be no compromise. Later, a number of anti-Chief speakers in the afternoon
session made the point that there could be no compromise. In follow-up telephone
conversations with Mr. Haney, there was no success in identifying any person or
group who could be agreed upon to be a representative spokesperson to articulate the
Indian viewpoint with respect to compromise.
The above is not to attribute a lack of proposals for compromise solely on the anti-
Chief forces. Any proposal of compromise likely would include a request for an
expansion of American Indian studies. The University, rightly or wrongly, has been
reluctant to commit large sums of money to establish those expensive programs
requiring tenured professorships without assurance that there will be a sufficient
demand for those course studies.
Is there no possibility for discussion of a compromise?Before answering that question,
we must consider the remarks of Prof. John A. Lynn of the Department of History.
Most of his submission follows:
Is Illiniwek Dead?
Is Illiniwek dead?If so, those who exalt at his demise will cheer as
fiercely as crowds once welcomed his breaking from the band at
Memorial Stadium. But whose victory would it be?
Use of the tribal name
It is claimed that the very use of a Native American tribal name is an abuse.
But if the use of tribal names is objectionable, then much of the map of the
United States will have to be scrapped. No more Kaskaskia, Oswego, Peoria,
Sauk Village or, for that matter, Illinois itself. On my map of French North
America, across the territory now included in our state runs the legend "grande
nation des Illinois," great nation of the Illini. This University embraces as its
symbol the very tribal confederation after which the state is named.
Is the dance sacrilegious?
It is charged that the dance of Illiniwek burlesques Native American
religion and thus makes Illiniwek forever demeaning. This notion
derives from the idea that to Native American societies dancing is
inherently and always religious. But is that in fact true today ?If one pays
to see Native Americans dance at the Wisconsin Dells and other sites, is
this worship or performance?The Native American gatherings, called
pow-wows by their Native American organizers, held across this country
include elaborate dance competitions in which Native Americans and
Anglos who dress as Native Americans dance side by side. Prizes are
awarded, not for religious devotion but for beauty of attire and skill at
the dance. Truth to tell, dancing can be performance, competition, and, at
times but not always, a religious act - and, yes, it is social as well. It
would be wrong to call the very act of native dancing inherently
demeaning if performed by a white, even in a venue of performance.
Certainly the evidence from Native American gatherings does not justify
the claim of sacrilege. Neither is Illiniwek's dance a tradition of more
recent origin than Indian dances done today. One of the Native American
dances with greatest meaning is the gourd dance, whose dancers must be
veterans of the U. S. armed forces. This is a dance originated in the
1940s, I believe, much later than the first dance of Illiniwek.
Is the performance racist?
Some condemn Illiniwek as racist. Does the image of Illiniwek really
promote a negative or disparaging view of Native Americans and boast
of the superiority of one race over another?Certainly not in an overt way,
but it comes down to reverence and honor, and some Native Americans
feel Illiniwek is exploitation. And this is a point that must be given
The U of I's theft of power and control
The sins of Illiniwek have more to do with power than with anything
else. Dancing at a pow-wow by Anglos is acceptable because it is a
Native American assembly under Native American control, and as such,
participation by Anglos is an act of deference not an abuse. But the
students and alumni of our University appropriated the symbol of Chief
Illiniwek without asking; they stole it. Illiniwek ought to have also
represented the people of Illiniwek, not simply the students of the
University. Although some attempt was made to achieve respectful
authenticity, the effort fell short and should have been greater. The
Native American community should have been honored, heard, and
involved from the start.
Loss of Chief is lost opportunity
Against those who insist that Illiniwek must go, it could be argued that
this symbol could be turned into a valuable opportunity for the very
people who oppose his presence. The first necessity would be to
establish Native American guidance and sponsorship of Illiniwek. I
believe that the Florida State University "Seminoles" provide an
example of such cooperation and counsel. Such a step could make
Illiniwek a far better representative of the very memory he is supposed to
preserve. Under such sponsorship the regalia and ritual of Illiniwek,
including his dance, could be refashioned to correspond more
authentically and respectfully with tradition. Most importantly, as befits
a great institution of learning, the symbol of the University could be
transformed into an educational asset, to both the University and to the
Native American community. Freshman orientation, for example, could
include teaching entering students about Native American history and
values through the intermediary of Illiniwek, their new symbol. And in
recognition of, and gratitude for, Native American involvement with the
institution of Illiniwek, the University could promote a Native American
presence on campus by awarding Illiniwek scholarships to Native
Americans, perhaps with one of the scholars portraying Illiniwek. Such
steps might turn the transformation and preservation of Illiniwek into a
greater victory than would be his elimination.
Compromise may be too late
But it is probably too late. Native American involvement, revision of
Illiniwek's ritual, student body education, and scholarships are all
possible, but Native American advocates at the forefront seem unwilling
to accept any other option but eradication. Of course, all can agree on
one point if nothing else; this should be a question of what is right, not of
what is expedient. But how is the "right" best achieved, and who gains if
Illiniwek vanishes like the tribes of Illinois?
What could be achieved
As an alumni, a faculty member, someone who has had a love affair with
the University of Illinois since the age of fourteen, and one who has
thrilled at Illiniwek for decades, I would wish that awarding this symbol
greater reverence and transforming it into something of value to both
Native Americans and the University could be regarded as acceptable by
all those concerned. The Illiniwek that has been may well be dead or
dying; however, the Illiniwek that could be promises to be healthy and
long-lived, able to strengthen the unity and enrich the memories of
generations of students to come.
The following submission presents an analysis that amplifies Prof. Lynn's above
statements concerning the difficulty of compromise and the nature of the controversy:
To what extent has the controversy at the U of I become a struggle
between competing personalities and egos?One side is determined to rid
the University of any remnant of its historical relationship to Indian
symbolism regardless of its respectful intent; and the other side is
determined to hold on to a tradition and heritage regardless of the
consequences. Has "winning" become important just to satisfy personal
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Edwards and Huddleston. The Chief (Video), The Chief Illiniwek Educational
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Highwater, Jamake. Ritual of the Wind: North American Ceremonies, Music and
Dances, Viking Press/Studio Books, Van der Marck Editions, 1985,
Hinderaker, Eric. Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley 1 673- 1 800, Cambridge
Hoxie, Frederick E. (Editor) Encyclopedia of North American Indians, Houghton
Mifflin Company, 1996
King and Springwood. Choreographing Colonialism: Athletic Mascots, Cultural
Studies: A Research Volume, 2000
Laubin, Reginald and Gladys. Indian Dances of North America: Their Importance to
Indian Life, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1976
Moses, L. G. Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians, University of
New Mexico Press, 1992
Rosenstein, Jay. In Whose Honor (Video), New Day Films, 1997
Spindel, Carol. We Honor Your Memory: Chief Illiniwek of the Halftime Mini, Crab
Orchard Review, Dept. of English of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1997
Spindel, Carol. Dancing at Halftime, New York University Press, 2000
Stremlau, Rosemarie. "The Men ": The White Mini Tribe at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign, an undergraduate thesis, 1999
Washburn, Wilcomb. The American Indian and the U. S. , Random House, 1973
Young, Linda. Hail to the Orange and Blue (excerpt), 1990,
Both Sides Give Views on the Chief, News-Gazette, October 26, 1989
A Challenge to the Chief, Illio, 1975
The Chief Illiniwek Homepage,
Excerpt from Hail to the Orange and Blue
The Second Illiniwek (the Webber Borchers Narrative)
Sioux Indian Chief Flies to C M to Present Uniform to Illiniwek
Carrie Johnson's Speech to the UC Senate - March 1998
Distorted Debate - Senate Bends Over for Radicals
"Indian Wars, " Microsoft" Encarta Online
Massacre at Wounded Knee, http://www.ibiscom.com/knee.htm
Remembering Wounded Knee, http://www.dickshovel.com/
Additionally, the internet was the source of extensive research into topics relevant to
the inquiry. Although many of the significant web sites are indicated above, a more
complete list of those sources would be prohibitive and of little value.
(1) It should be noted that Mr. Haney, like the moderator and a few others at the Intake Session,
erroneously had interpreted Ms. Debbie Reese's statements to be a call for compromise. She later
notified the Dialogue that her remarks had been misinterpreted. We apologize.
IX. INDEX TO TRUSTEES' APPENDIX
Volume 1 of 2
1. 01/13/00 Board of Trustees Resolution
2. Press Release Naming Louis B. Garippo to Preside over Intake Session
3. John Madigan Submission
4. 1 1/30/95 Office of Civil Rights Report
5. The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media Submission re: 52 Organizations
Advocating the Retirement of Chief Illiniwek
6. List of Organizations Advocating the Retirement of Chief Illiniwek provided by Professor
7. Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Submission re: Organizations
Advocating the Retirement of Chief Illiniwek
8. University of North Dakota Report
9. Submission of Professor Brenda Farnell
10. Transcript of 04/14/00 Intake Session
11. Transcript of Narratives Taped in Foellinger Balcony
Volume 2 of 2
12. 101 Selected Submissions from Dialogue Mailbox